Gavin Wheeldon

Name: Gavin Wheeldon

Age: 35

Company: Applied Language Solutions. We’re a Manchester-based translation firm.

Turnover: £10.6m

First job: I got an after-school job at a kitchen company doing telesales. I became the number one salesperson in the team, but they nearly had to let me go because I fibbed about my age – I said I was 16 when I was 14!

Dream job: I would love to be a barrister. It’s essentially a job based on successful sales pitches on behalf of your clients! Other than that I find psychology fascinating, so it would be great to be a psychologist.

Car: Porsche. I have driven Ferraris and Lamborghinis but I always come back to the Porsche.

Economy, business or first class: For a short trip, economy class is fine by me. If it is a much longer flight, then business class. If you have to travel a long distance and need to be refreshed and be able to hit the ground running for important meetings, the investment is worth it.

Most extravagant purchase: I am not an extravagant person generally. My wife’s engagement ring is probably the one thing I really went way over my budget on. Completely worth it though!

Most played song on iPod: To be honest, it is more likely to be an audio book rather than music.

Best business book: Jack Welch’s Straight from the Gut is fantastic. He wasn’t really an entrepreneur in the sense that he was involved in lots of different businesses, but he climbed the ladder at GE and used the knowledge he gained on the way up to transform and diversify the business, leading to a lot of success.

Worst business moment: Having to make people redundant when my first business failed. I don’t want to repeat the experience.

Proudest business moment: There isn’t one single moment but sometimes when I walk around the company offices and look around at what we have achieved, I have to pinch myself. Winning a major contract with the MoJ recently also made me very proud because everyone at the company worked so hard to win it.

Business mentor: I don’t really have one person who I would consider my mentor. I have read most business books and autobiographies from major business leaders and these often provide a great source of advice and inspiration.

Next big thing: Machine translation technology (language conversion driven by computer based engines).

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